I am just back from the 3rd Annual Figurative Arts Conference & Expo (FACE) which was held November 10 – 13, 2019 in Williamsburg, VA. It was a wonderful experience and I will talk further about the various lectures and demonstrations I attended, terrific artists I met, and the phenomenal vender store and all the things I wish I had done but didn’t due to a variety of issues. But that will need to hold for a later post or series of posts.
Today I want to talk about is one of the gifts I received in the swag bag that all the participants received. The bag itself is wonderful and all the stuff that came packed inside of it was wonderful, but there was one item that needs a post today.
I subscribe to Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. I’m a new subscriber because I wasn’t sure I needed more magazines around the house. However, the more I learned about it, the more I realized it would be a touchstone for me because I could relate to the work they are doing to promote Contemporary Realism.
This is the most recent issue. It arrived just before I left for the Conference and I thumbed through it quickly and made a note that I would need to come back and read it a little deeper.
But low and behold, there in my goody bag was a complementary copy of the same issue. So now I had two.
On Thursday I had to go to the city for a follow up visit with my doctor and took one copy along to read in the waiting room as there seems to be nothing decent to read there. But they were running on time and I barely had time to crack it open. All was fine and as planned, I decided to visit my 84-year-old mother who is in nursing care following a recent knee replacement.
Now, my mom, when younger was a very good watercolor artist. She switched to colored pencil work when I was in college, before colored pencil was cool. She was also a realism painter and focused on doing that work when modernism ruled the art world. Her work appeared in magazines, national competitions and books; but she hated marketing and chasing galleries and so her work rarely sold and her house filled with beautiful pieces. And so did the houses of her children and grandchildren. But when my father became ill with Alzheimer’s she set her art work aside and cared for him full time until the last half year of his life. They moved together into a senior community and between depression, her own frail health and what seems to be a different kind of dementia creeping into her, her art suffered.
“I can’t paint anymore,” she says sadly. “Everyone wants me to keep painting but I can’t.” And it makes us all very sad for her because her art work had always been a way for her to escape, to focus on something she loved doing and was very good at doing it.
Her very best paintings came with her to the community and have followed her from bungalow to apartment to her single room in assisted living. There is beautiful, original work in the hallways of the community, but it is usually either modern works or pieces that remind me of Hudson Valley paintings. She says they are depressing. Her paintings are bright and cheerful and big and beautiful and many took her over 6 months or a year to paint.
So, here it was on Thursday I showed up in the nursing care unit to see how she was recovering after her surgery and was glad to find her, while not completely pain free, far better then she was prior to the surgery. She said she was feeling rather bored so I pulled out my copy of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine and handed it to her. I have my other copy back at home, after all.
She looked at the cover and reached out and touched it gently. “This is beautiful.” and a tear came to her eye and she smiled. “Is this what is selling these days?” I told her it was. “Oh,” she said, “I’m so glad.” She flipped the pages, and commented, “there are so many beautiful paintings in here. I look forward to reading this.”
So, I still haven’t read my copy yet, but I will soon and next visit she and I will have perhaps more to discuss. In any case, I want to thank the good people at Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine and FACE for giving me an extra copy to share with another fine artist and for bringing her some joy.